Chili-Free Chili

Recently, I participated in a video conference for write-from-home mothers. One of the tips offered in the lesson on time management was to realize that there is no such thing as a “normal” week for a mother. Over the week since I heard this, one night was eaten up with a class parents meeting, another with parent-teacher conferences, and another with an attempted bonfire. I had kids home on school vacation for two days, and when I took the baby to the doctor this morning, I was told he needs a minor surgical procedure tomorrow. Totally normal week. Because different things always come up. I hope that viewing my schedule in this way will reduce a lot of frustration normally caused by the little things that mess up a rigid schedule in a big way, otherwise known as real life.

Monday was the official school vacation day given for Lag BaOmer for most of the schools in the country. It was also International Museum Day. That magic combination meant that dozens of museums around the country opened their doors to the public free of charge and were swamped with over-tired children and exhausted parents. Even though my two-year-old was home on Sunday and had preschool on Monday, I took her along on the family trip to Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. It is the most kid-friendly museum in the capital, and with rotating exhibits and guest exhibits, there is always something new for the kids to touch, build, poke, or test.


exhibit comparing different types of wheat and other grains (taken with my left hand while holding baby)



On this museum visit, I was excited to find a new exhibit all about food! We saw plants with different types of roots, honeycombs built around plates and toys, towers of packaged food, comparisons of different types of wheat, and tubes of Spirulina (algae)–the most nutrient-dense food on the planet.  In the same room as the wheat, there was a glass-topped table filled with different types of legumes. Since I’m trying to vary my kids’ diet beyond whole wheat pasta with cottage cheese and ketchup or scrambled eggs and couscous, I called them over to look at the beans. Supposedly, when children participate more in food choice preparation, they are more open to try new things. I challenged them each to choose a legume for me to take for supper later in the week–green lentils, red lentils, yellow lentils, white beans, mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, split peas, chickpeas, etc. I got a few upturned noses, but my five-year-old was really excited about the red kidney beans. So I made chili tonight.


I wanted the kids to actually eat the chili, so I kept it mild. There was a chili recipe on the back of the package, which I adapted slightly. Ironically, chili powder is not easy to find in Israel. So I made chili without chili powder. It was still delicious. Half of my kids even ate it.

Chili-Free Chili Recipe
Serves 4

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 1/4 cups pre-soaked beans (from 1 cup dried)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 hot pepper, diced (optional; I didn’t use)
1 cup corn kernels
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
100 grams (a little less than 1/2 cup) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup diced scallions, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a medium pot. Saute onion and garlic.
  2. Add beans, spices, and two cups water. Simmer for about an hour. If using canned beans, skip this step and move on to step 3.
  3. Add the peppers, corn, tomato paste, and one more cup of water. Simmer for another hour.
  4. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  5. Serve over brown rice, garnished with scallions.

*I made this on the stove-top, but it would work great in a slow-cooker (which I have never used, so I can’t give details).

Like Mexican food? Try Vegan Burritos with Easy Refried Beans




About israelisalad

I'm an American-Israeli mother who loves to make healthy food from fresh ingredients, on a budget and with limited time. My site is full of easy, healthy recipes and insights into life in Israel.
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1 Response to Chili-Free Chili

  1. Pingback: Summer-Friendly One-Pot Shabbos Solution: Couscous Chicken | Israeli Salad

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